Yesterday, we spent most of the day working on dishes for an Iron Chef party. At 12:30, the host sent out an email with two theme ingredients, and all the teams had to complete their dishes and bring them to the judging panel by 6:30 PM. 4.5 hours seems like a long time, but it goes fast when you spend an hour deciding on the dishes and two hours shopping for ingredients. We didn't get down to cooking until around 4 PM, leaving 2.5 hours for serious victual construction.
Let me tell you, I have even more respect for the Iron Chefs' ability to construct an entire gourmet meal in less than an hour. It is hard to cook that much food in that short a time!
Our menu was:
Chilled Berry Soup With Cabernet Sauvignon
Crostini with Mixed Wild Mushrooms and Gorgonzola
Mixed Green Salad with Raspberries, Portabella Mushrooms, and Goat Cheese
Fresh Potato Gnocchi in a Porcini Mushroom Cream Sauce
Pan-seared Beef Tenderloin with Dried Cranberries and Portabella Mushrooms
Double Happiness Panna Cotta with Fresh Berries
Unfortunately, it turns out that the judges were instructed only to consider the three best dishes in calculating their scores, which is not how it works in the real Iron Chef contest! As a result, finished second to another team that had focused its efforts on three dishes. Nonetheless, our Fresh Potato Gnocchi captured the award for best side dish (the winning team won for best main dish and dessert).
Of course, the most important thing is that a good time was had by all, even Jason, who spent most of the day playing with Uncle Andrew while Janet helped Alisha and I cook. The judging took place in a beautiful Palo Alto home, which I appreciated more after I read the story behind it. Hopefully, when we are able to buy our dream home, we won't have to go through quite as much of a struggle!